Growing up in a Pentecostal tradition, as a teenager, I enjoyed debating theology with Baptist friends. We had long, somewhat heated discussions, about what it meant to be “Spirit-filled.” Looking back at our arguments with the wisdom of years, I see we were both right. This is not an either/or issue, nor is that question worth fighting about. These kinds of debates take our focus off the lost. Instead, let us simply agree that all Disciple Making Movement leaders must learn to move in the power of God’s Spirit.
It is tricky. How do you love people well, without giving to their financial needs? Our words must not be empty. We don’t want to say “I’ll pray for you,” and do nothing practical to help those in true financial distress. At the same time, if we give in the wrong way, we create unhealthy dependency. This is a death factor in movements and can destroy the chances you will multiply rapidly.
As you reach out to the least, last, and lost, inevitably you will encounter those with desperate needs. These needs are emotional, physical, and spiritual. A disciple maker needs to avoid burn-out by setting boundaries on what they will do for those they minister to. How much do you give? When do you give? How do you give? These are vital questions to answer as you attempt to start Disciple Making Movements among the unreached.
“The harvesters are in the harvest,” the trainer said. “Hmm…I thought. What could that mean?” I was curious to know more. Would it be possible to start a Disciple Making Movement with brand new believers instead of older Christians?
A few days ago, one of my readers wrote this to me. “It’s hard for people to change,” they said. It is a common complaint of DMM practitioners. We, humans, are slow to change our paradigms.
It is not the new believers they were talking about. The older, more mature Christians they were training were not quick to shift their ideas about the nature of the church. My suggestion? Cast vision to all, but focus effort on new disciples. Give the most time to those who readily accept the Word of God as truth and aren’t steeped in church culture already.
I felt overwhelmed. How in the world would I gather all this information? I had to answer twenty-five different questions about our disciple making work. While I understood it might be valuable to have that data, it was too much. I put off the request and didn’t complete my report. How do you know what is most important to ask for data on, as you measure the growth of the movement?
It’s an important question to ask. Keep things simple. Only measure what is most important to evaluate. Track what is most valuable in relation to DMM indicators you must see happening if you want to multiply. If you make the process of tracking too complex, it will fail. Your reporting process will not be sustainable.
“What is the most important quality in a disciple maker or church planter’s life?” she asked. I was thoughtful for a moment. Many things rose to my mind. Diligence, prayer, passion for the lost, ability to call others into the vision, my list was long. One thing rose to the top. Perseverance. Without an ability to stick to the task, in spite of obstacles, to resist distractions and press on, Disciple Making Movements don’t get launched.
God gave you passion and vision or you wouldn’t be reading this blog. Somewhere along the line, He breathed His heart into yours. It caught. A dream of multiplication began.
In previous posts, we looked at the characteristics of Jesus’ movement. We also looked at the movement the apostles continued in Jerusalem. As the movement developed, we see what local assemblies (house churches) looked like. This adds to our understanding of New Testament movements. As we study the scripture below, we can examine our existing views of the church. Let us try to see the passage from the perspective of the early disciples, instead of our own.
What did the disciples in Jerusalem regularly do?
A summary of what the disciples regularly did in their local context, Jerusalem, is found in Acts 2:41-47.
There is a big difference between the way rabbits and elephants reproduce! We know this. It is often referred to when explaining what a Disciple Making Movement is. Movements multiply rapidly. They grow and reproduce organically. Getting your disciples to take off and multiply like rabbits can be easier said than done.
To see rapid, rabbit-style reproduction of disciple makers, you must depend heavily on the Holy Spirit. Many of us lean too much on our own skills and experience as we train disciples. The Holy Spirit lives within even the newest of believers.
A few months ago, we looked at the characteristics of Jesus’ Movement. The most important foundation of all we do in DMMs should be what Jesus taught and did, not Peter or Paul. After reflecting on Jesus’ ways of working, we can learn much from His disciples as well,
Let’s discover some basic characteristics of the Jerusalem movement, led by Peter and the earliest apostles. This movement began after Jesus rose again.
What did the Jerusalem Movement look like?
We’ll look at seven characteristics that affected the apostle’s fruitfulness.These reflect the idea that Peter and the apostles were disciples of Jesus, and followed what He taught and did. We should remember that teaching and practice were integrated. They should not be separated.
“We’ve been looking for a place to have our Discovery Bible Study. I’m so excited! The pastor has said we can use the church! It solves our childcare problem too. We can use the nursery area for the kids.” She sounded so happy. Inside, I cringed. “Oh no! That doesn’t sound like the best option. How do I help her avoid making this strategic mistake?” Gently, I began asking questions. Eventually, she began to see. It’s probably better not to have Discovery groups meet within the church building. Not if her goal is to start a Disciple Making Movement.
“How do I get started with DMMs? I’m finding it difficult to find a Person of Peace. I can’t even find someone ready to have a spiritual conversation!” my trainee said. The frustration in her voice was notable. A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of meeting an Asian movement leader who has seen incredible fruit. Their movement is now well over 20,000 believers. He shared an excellent entry strategy. As my trainee asked this question, his example came to mind.
To find a Person of Peace, or several at one time, you have to cast your net wide. You can’t “fish” with a pole…you need a big net. The Asian movement leader’s example demonstrated how he did this.